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‘Nasty surprise’ as hundreds of kilograms of meat thrown in Christchurch bins



A mystery meat dumper has been filling Christchurch’s public bins with hundreds of kilograms of meat in recent weeks.

The dumping comes as Christchurch City Council reveals the cost of cleaning up fly-tipping from the city’s roadsides was more than $800,000 in the past six years.

Christchurch City Councillor Andrei Moore said in recent weeks someone had thrown 670 kilograms of meat in public bins in the western suburbs of Wigram and Hornby.

“We had 220 kilos on one occasion and 200 on another a couple of weeks afterwards,” he said.

Last night was the biggest dumping yet, with 14 bags containing 250kg of meat chucked.

“It’s hard to say exactly where it might have come from – if it’s from a business or is it from a homekill job – it’s hard to say,” Moore said.

“Presumably it’s to avoid paying the dumping fees. The fees are a reasonable amount … to dump this much meat would’ve cost $150 to $170 or so.”

Anyone looking to use the public bins might have got an unpleasant surprise.

“You could see the meat literally from just looking into the bin, so any kids who went to put a wrapper in the bin would’ve had a nasty surprise of a meat-filled bin,” Moore said.

It was not entirely clear what the contents of the bags were, though it was believed to be beef and pork.

“There are unusual items dumped all over the place all the time, which does come at a significant cost for ratepayers,” Moore said.

“It costs a huge amount to send teams out to pick up litter from the street or dumped bags or, likewise, emptying public bins comes at a significant expense as well.

“These bins need to be there for everyone to use for out and about waste, not household or commercial waste, otherwise they just won’t be sustainable to remain.”

It cost the council $16,000 to clear illegally dumped rubbish from streets in 2017, but last year it was $105,000, in 2021 it cost $230,000 and the problem peaked at $330,000 in 2020.

There were 22,229 jobs relating to fly-tipping during the the last road maintenance contract period.

In 2023, there were 3142 reports of rubbish dumped in Christchurch parks.

“It’s really disappointing to see these jobs continuing to come through and it’s not fair on others who do the right thing,” city streets maintenance manager Steve Guy said.

“The money is coming at the expense of other projects at a time where every single dollar we can put into renewing and repairing roads and footpaths is a priority for the council and our residents.”

But the cost was set to increase, as levy rates for municipal landfills increased $10 per tonne to $60 per tonne in July 2024.

“If we continue to see the same rates of fly-tipping at these new rates, it will end up costing ratepayers more than $1.3 million when the current contract periods end – and that’s not including the money that would also be spent clearing dumped rubbish from parks and other council facilities,” Guy said.

“For that kind of money, we could repair an entire road.”

The council was looking at ways to hold people to account.

“A lot of the rubbish is stuff that can be put in council red bins for free disposal, or when larger items are dumped it can be really dangerous and a risk to the environment.

“Although we are looking at prosecution options, we would much prefer it didn’t get to that point in the first instance, so we really want people to do the right thing.”

Illegal dumping could be reported using the Snap, Send, Solve app or by ringing the council on 03 941 8999.



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South Auckland hotel goes into lockdown after gunshot



A South Auckland hotel was briefly put in lockdown on Wednesday after a gun was fired.

The manager of the Allenby Park Hotel in Papatoetoe said guests were safe and no one had been injured.

The hotel has since reopened.

The suspected shooter was not known to anyone at the hotel and fled after the incident, he said.


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French-operated flight to evacuate next group of New Zealanders from New Caledonia



A French-operated flight will bring stranded New Zealanders to Brisbane, with a New Zealand Defence Force flight arranged for the travel from Brisbane to New Zealand.

The French flight is due to depart Tontouta Airport at 6pm NZ time with 49 Kiwis on board.

The flight from Brisbane to Auckland is due to arrive at Auckland International Airport at 1am NZ time.

MFAT said it was still working with French and Australian authorities on logistics.

Around 10pm last night a Defence Force flight completed the first mercy mission, landing in Auckland with 48 New Zealanders on board.

MFAT said 260 New Zealanders remain and are hoping to leave Noumea (of the 274 NZers in New Caledonia registered on Safetravel).

It is believed that in total there would have been at least 371 NZers in New Caledonia when the conflict erupted.

It has claimed six lives while millions of dollars in damages has been caused to businesses and infrastructure.

French President Emmanuel Macon is due to arrive in New Caledonia this evening.


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Government confirms First Home Grants to be scrapped



The government has confirmed it plans to scrap the First Home Grants scheme, with applications ending from Wednesday.

This would recoup about $245 million over four years.

It has also announced $140 million in new funding for 1500 new social housing places from July next year, to be provided through Community Housing Providers rather than Kāinga Ora.

Housing Minister Chris Bishop announced the moves this afternoon at a media briefing called with just half an hour’s notice.

“Kāinga Ora is no longer accepting new applications for First Home Grants. They will still process applications that have already been received,” he said.

“If you’ve gone through the system and you’ve been approved for a first home grant or you’ve been pre-approved or you’ve currently got approval, and you’re going out there and looking for your first home – that can last up to six months, all of that will be honoured.”

Housing Minister Chris Bishop confirms the government is scrapping First Home Grants, and spending a similar amount of money on new social housing places.

Housing Minister Chris Bishop confirms the government is scrapping First Home Grants, and spending a similar amount of money on new social housing places. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

He confirmed the government was retaining the First Home Loan scheme, saying the evidence they had seen was it was a more effective way of supporting first home buyers.

He listed the Salvation Army, Emerge Aotearoa and CORT as some providers that could be contracted to provide the social housing places, and said that would be managed through a process run by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

He said the government was filling a hole for social housing places left as a “fiscal cliff” by the previous government.

“We are now filling that hole that Labour left us and that gives them some pipeline certainty.

He said the First Home Grant was an “expensive and inefficient way to support first home buyers” and had gone from covering about 10 percent of a standard deposit when it was introduced in 2010, to just over 4 percent of a standard deposit in 2024.

“Evidence shows the grant brings forward the purchase of a first home – but in most cases it does not make a difference to whether someone can buy a home or not,” he said.

He said the government would be happy to provide that evidence.

“The First Home Grant is a programme that ultimately we think – in comparison to social housing places – is lower value expenditure at a time when the social housing waitlist has 25,000 families on it and we have a big demand for New Zealanders in need.

“We have had to make the tough, but I think the right, decision to discontinue the first home grant and reprioritise that money to social housing places.”

“The first home grant is a programme that ultimately, we think in comparison to social housing places is lower value expenditure at a time when the social housing waitlist has 25,000 families on it and we have a big demand for New Zealanders in need.

He said it was expected to have “minimal effect on home ownership rates”.

He acknowledged the change would “cause some pain for some people, but we are doing the right thing to support our most vulnerable New Zealanders”.

“If we’re honest about it, the first home grant started as a demand side measure to try and help some people into first home ownership when the wider system was not being fixed.

“We need to open up land at the edge of our cities, we need to densify in our cities – and I’ve made a decision around that in the last couple of weeks … we need to fix our infrastructure settings and we need to incentivise councils.”

Bishop said Kāinga Ora would not be provided with further funding to provide social housing places until a turnaround plan had been signed off by the government in the wake of the independent review carried out by Sir Bill English.

In Parliament in 2021, National’s then-Housing spokesperson Nicola Willis – now the finance minister – framed the scheme as one of National’s success stories and urged its expansion.

‘Shattering the dream of home ownership’: Other parties react

Labour leader Chris Hipkins said the government was “shattering the dream of home ownership for an entire generation of New Zealanders”.

“Whilst giving $2.9 billion of tax cuts to landlords, they’re cutting one of the schemes a lot of New Zealanders rely on to get that deposit together to buy their first home.”

He said National could scale up the First Home Grant scheme and increasing social housing places with the money being spent on those tax cuts.

“They’re tilting the playing field in favour of wealthy landlords who can afford to buy multiple properties and get tax breaks, and be rewarded with tax breaks for that, whilst a generation of New Zealanders won’t be able to buy their own home.

“Sure we need to increase the supply of housing, but in the meantime I’m not willing to shut an entire generation out of the ability to even get a deposit together to buy a house.”

Green Party co-leader Chlöe Swarbrick similarly pointed to tax deductibility changes and the bright line test.

“There are decisions that can be made to implement values and evidence-based policy to meaningfully bring house prices down,” she said.

“What the government has knowingly done and as has been reflected in the financial sustainability report from the Reserve Bank, is that its decisions around tax deductibility and the brightline test will only bid up the cost of housing in this country, putting it further out of reach for first-home buyers.”

ACT leader David Seymour campaigned on removing the scheme and said first home grants did not solve the problem of a shortage of housing.

“Unfortunately this government is under real pressure,” he said.

“The first home grant does not solve the problem of a shortage of housing, all it does is help some people while the shortage of housing remains for everybody else. The only solution to a shortage of housing is to build more homes.

“That will be a blow for people, but we also have a government inheriting very tough fiscal times and we actually cannot do everything that we’re supposed to do.”

Te Pāti Māori co-leader Rawiri Waititi said many Māori were living in intergenerational homes, and he thought the scrapping of the grants was poor policy.

“Our people are already struggling to get into homes, Māori make up 50 percent of the social housing waiting list,” he said.

“It’s very, very difficult for people to get into homes and to live the Kiwi dream of owning a home, so I think that is a very very poor policy and to rob Peter to pay Paul type Budget I think that’s something for Aotearoa to think about. This is what you voted for.”

Labour’s housing spokesperson Kieran McAnulty earlier said removing the grants, while also restoring interest deductibility for landlords, would make things even harder for renters to get on the ladder.


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